Monthly Archives: June 2019

Connecticut prices continue slump | Bedford Corners Real Estate

The spring home buying market got off to a disappointing start in April, as sales sputtered and the state marked the ninth consecutive month of year-over-year sale declines, a new report Thursday shows.

The median sale price of a single-family house was unchanged in April, at $250,000, on a 5-percent decline in sales, according to the monthly report from The Warren Group, which tracks real estate trends in New England.

Sales closed in April typically would have gone under contract 45-60 days earlier, right around the traditional start of the spring homebuying season.

Through the first four months of this year, sales are down nearly 7 percent, compared with the same period in 2018. In the same period, the median sale price fell 1.2 percent, to $240,000, compared with $243,000 for the same four-month period last year.

Hartford County’s home sale market did better than the state as a whole in April. Sales were flat, but the median sale price crept up 1.4 percent to $223,000 from $219,000 for the same month a year ago.

Across all the state’s eight counties, all but Hartford, Litchfield and Middlesex counties saw year-over-year sale declines in April. The deepest decline was registered in New London County, down 16.6 percent compared with April of 2018.

The statewide median sale price was pulled down by declines in Fairfield, Tolland and Windham counties. Price gains in the other five counties — the highest being a 11-percent year-over-year rise in Middlesex County — were not strong enough to lift the overall median price to an increase.

So far in 2019, the four-month trend for sales and prices paid is disappointing for the state’s housing market, which has struggled to recover from the last recession, which ended in March 2010. There were hopeful signs in 2018 when Connecticut registered its third consecutive annual gain in median sale price. The velocity of sales remain a concern, however, failing to show upward momentum.

The median sale price is a well-watched indicator of changes in sale prices and trends affecting property values. But it doesn’t necessarily mean all home prices and values, for that matter, are moving in the same direction.

read more…

https://www.courant.com/business/hc-biz-warren-home-sales-april-20190530-jibwdembvnce3gybfldsgmoxzm-story.html

How the U.S. residential real estate market could take a major hit from the trade war | Chappaqua Real Estate

Chinese investors have been the biggest purchasers of U.S. residential real estate for six consecutive years, but President Trump’s trade war, and China’s efforts to reduce its national debt and boost economic growth, could change that.

And if the impasse continues, the effects could be even more far-reaching. “The Chinese government could place stricter capital controls about taking money out of China and buying in America,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors. China’s government has already put pressure on Chinese nationals to reduce their commercial real-estate investments.Meanwhile, the U.S.-China trade dispute has sent the Chinese yuanUSDCNH, -0.0029%to new lows relative to the dollar. “It’s already making U.S. real estate more expensive” for Chinese buyers, said Michael Fratantoni, chief economist at the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The trade war also adds to U.S. economic uncertainty at a time when real-estate demand is weakening even in some of the country’s hottest housing markets.

China has become the largest foreign buyer of U.S. residential real estate

In 2014, China supplanted Canada as the source of the largest share of foreign buyers of U.S. residential real estate, according to data from the National Association of Realtors.

In 2018 dollars, Chinese buyers accounted for roughly 25% of total foreign investment in U.S. residential real estate. Canada was No. 2 at 9%.

Of the 284,000 properties sold to foreign buyers last year, some 40,400, or 15%, were bought by Chinese nationals. Five years earlier, Chinese nationals had purchased 23,075 homes, representing just 12% of all properties sold to foreign buyers.

Even China’s growing share in recent years represents a small percentage of overall investment in U.S. residential real estate. As of 2018, foreign buyers in aggregate accounted for just 3% of U.S. home sales, the association added. That figure had been rising, but experienced a modest decline between 2017 and 2018. The figures for 2019 are expected to be similar to the 2018 levels.Long before the current trade dispute, the Chinese government had been creating hurdles for its citizens who wanted to invest abroad. The country started restricting outbound investments in 2016, allowing residents to take only the equivalent of $50,000 out of the country, as a means of propping up the country’s currency. This not only made it more difficult to purchase real estate in America but prompted some Chinese investors to sell their U.S. assets.

A Chinese pullback could have serious effects for some West Coast markets

Unlike foreign buyers from other countries who spread their investments more evenly across the U.S., Chinese residential real-estate investment is highly concentrated on the Pacific Coast. Nearly 40% of Chinese buyers have purchased in California, home to a large Asian community.

But California isn’t the only place where a fall in Chinese buyers would make a difference. Chinese nationals represent a significant share of the foreign buyers of residential real estate in the New York City metropolitan area and growing shares of buyers in states including Florida and Texas.

Chinese buyers also play a big role in the residential-real-estate markets of college towns, as more Chinese students have opted to study at American universities, Yun said.

However, a retreat by Chinese buyers could be good news for Americans looking to purchase a home, especially in such costly Golden State markets as San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego. These are among the most expensive in the entire country, and their popularity had contributed to double-digit home-price appreciation in recent years.

The rate at which home prices are climbing has recently slowed as buyers have struggled with affordability. The lack of competition from foreign buyers, who typically enter competitive all-cash offers, could provide an opportunity to get a better deal on a home for locals looking to buy.

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Mortgage rates hit two year low | South Salem Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate fell to 3.82 percent, the sixth consecutive weekly decline and its lowest level since September 2017.

Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, says, “While the drop in mortgage rates is a good opportunity for consumers to save on their mortgage payment, our research indicates that there can be a wide dispersion among mortgage rate offers. By shopping around and getting a single additional mortgage rate quote, a borrower can save an average of $1,500.”

“These low rates are also good news for current homeowners. With rates dipping below four percent, there are over $2 trillion of outstanding conforming conventional mortgages eligible to be refinanced – meaning the majority of what was originated in 2018 is now eligible,” he says.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.82 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending June 6, 2019, down from last week when it averaged 3.99 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.54 percent. 
  • 15-year FRM averaged 3.28 percent with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.46 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 4.01 percent. 
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.52 percent with an average 0.4 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.60 percent. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.74 percent.

Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage. Visit the following link for the Definitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

More people moving to the Exurbs | Armonk Real Estate

construction

Welcome to the exurbs: remote areas just beyond the more affluent suburbs that have seen a wave of activity from builders and home shoppers.

According to a recent report by the National Association of Home Builders, the exurbs were the only regions that saw an annual increase in single-family permits in the first quarter of 2019.

Posting a 1.6% year-over-year gain, the exurbs are home to just 9% of the nation’s single-family construction. But while this might not seem like much, its share is growing – a fact that some analysts say is raising red flags.

Why? The last time the exurbs saw activity increase was during the housing boom, when speculators got a bit over-excited about the opportunity to make the big bucks by flipping homes on the cheap. But when the bubble burst, these areas were largely abandoned, and builders were left deep in the red.

renewed surge of activity in exurban areas is a key indicator of a general lack of affordability that is plaguing the housing market.

“A shortage of buildable and affordable lots is forcing builders to increasingly look further outside of suburban and metropolitan areas to find cheaper land that provides more building opportunities,” explained NAHB Chairman Greg Ugalde.

NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz said the data highlights the fact that housing costs are increasing at a faster pace in large metro suburban counties.

“Supply-side issues that are hurting affordability and raising costs for builders include excessive regulations, labor shortages, rising material costs and a dearth of buildable lots in mid- to high population centers,” Dietz said.

read more…

https://www.housingwire.com/articles/49154-priced-out-of-the-housing-market-more-americans-move-to-the-exurbs

European real estate bubble a ‘real possibility’ | Mt Kisco Real Estate

The euro area is at risk of a new real estate bubble as a result of expansionary monetary policy from the European Central Bank (ECB), Commerzbankanalysts have warned.

The ECB council meets on Thursday June 6, and is likely to decide on the details of the third edition of its targeted longer-term refinancing operations (TLTRO-III) program, a series of Eurosystem operations that provide financing to credit institutions for periods of up to four years.

TLTROs offer long-term funding at attractive conditions to banks in order to encourage them to lend capital to the real economy.

The central bank has faced calls from some corners of the market for fresh stimulative measures to aid the anemic European economy, and the third round of TLTROs represent a continuation of its expansionary monetary course.

“With a view to low core inflation, some policies are often passed off as a free lunch,” a note from Commerzbank senior economists Dr Ralph Solveen and Dr Jorg Kramer said in a note Friday.

“Yet the ECB’s expansionary monetary policy has a cost and it comes in the form of higher house prices, which already appear expensive in some countries, and the threat of a property price bubble is a real possibility.”Rising house prices

Commerzbank highlighted that house prices have been rising rapidly in the majority of eurozone economies, including the large economies of Germany, Belgium and France. With an increase of around 4.5% in the course of 2018, Germany was slightly above average in terms of rising house prices, while Slovenia and Latvia saw double-digit rises. Portugal, the Netherlands and Luxembourg all rose at almost 10% rates.

Yet Commerzbank analysts anticipate that ECB interest rates will remain in negative territory for the foreseeable future, further heightening the threat of a real estate bubble.

“The relation between house prices and rents, a frequently used measure for the valuation of real estate, has risen by more than 10% since early 2015. This is less than 5% below its level at the beginning of 2008, when the housing market in some euro area countries had formed considerable bubbles,” the note stated.

Commerzbank expects that if the ECB maintains its monetary policy stance until the end of 2020, average house prices will exceed pre-crisis levels.Falling debt and no building boom

Solveen and Kramer pointed out that the strength of impact of a bursting price bubble on the real economy depends, in part, on the extent to which rising house prices are accompanied by rising debt and a construction boom.

The euro zone as a whole is not yet in this position, the analysts suggested, with private household debt relative to GDP falling steadily across most of Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), although Belgium and France were noted as exceptions.

There is also no question of a construction boom, the economists highlighted, and the share of residential construction investment in eurozone GDP is now significantly lower than at the beginning of 2008.

“The situation is somewhat different in Germany, where the rise in prices in recent years has been accompanied by a sharp rise in construction investment and bottlenecks are increasingly occurring in the construction sector,” the Commerzbank note stated.

“However, the share of residential construction investment in GDP is still lower than at the beginning of the monetary union, and there was certainly no construction boom in Germany at that time.”

read more…

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/05/31/european-real-estate-bubble-a-real-possibility-commerzbank-says.html

Mortgage rates average 3.99% | South Salem Real Estate

Freddie Mac today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate dropped below four percent for the first time since January 2018.

Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, says, “While economic data points to continued strength, financial sentiment is weakening with the spread between the 10-year and the 3-month Treasury bill narrowing as fears of the impact of the trade war with China grow. Lower rates should, however, give a boost to the housing market, which has been on the upswing with both existing and new home sales picking up recently.”

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.99 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending May 30, 2019, down from last week when it averaged 4.06 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.56 percent. 
  • 15-year FRM averaged 3.46 percent with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.51 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 4.06 percent. 
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.60 percent with an average 0.4 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.68 percent. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.80 percent.

Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage. Visit the following link for the Definitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.